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Full text of "A history of Persia"

EXPULSION OF THE AFGHANS       325
attempt at resistance being made, and thus the royal city
was depopulated and rendered powerless. The English
and Dutch factories were harshly treated and made to
pay forced contributions. The Armenians of Julfa were
compelled to pay a second contribution, and the Indian
merchants were plundered.
The Capture of Shiraz^ A.H. 1137 (1724).—Mahmud
next enlisted some of the wild Kurds who, being Sunnis,
were ready to serve under his standard. Mainly by their
aid he reconquered the cities of Khonsar and Kashan,
which had rebelled after the disaster at Kazvin. Meanwhile
a detachment was conquering Fars, but Shiraz held out.
Nasrulla, the leader of the Zoroastrian contingent, was
killed while taking part in an assault, and in his honour
his slaves and the prisoners were put to death at his
funeral. His successor, Zabbardast Khan, was more
fortunate. He beat off a relieving force under a brother
of the Vali of Arabia, and negotiations for surrender
followed. While these were in progress he observed that
the soldiers had quitted their posts ; he thereupon broke
off the negotiations and captured Shiraz. Although famine
had caused the city to surrender, a large store containing
a three months' supply of grain was found, and its owner
by way of punishment was bound to a stake and left to
die of hunger in his own granary. Even to-day this
story is remembered against the Shirazis.
An Attack on Bandar Abbas.—A detachment was next
sent to attack Bandar Abbas. The inhabitants fled, but
the European factories, which had beaten off a large horde
of Baluchis in the previous year, were too strong to be
attempted, and the Afghans having gladly accepted some
supplies retired, suffering heavy losses from the bad
climate. Encouraged by the capture of Shiraz, Mahmud
took the field in person and marched on the Kuhgelu
district to the north of Behbehan ; but the Arab nomads
harassed his army, which suffered also from the heat near
the coast, and he was forced to retreat to Isfahan, which
he re-entered by night.
Afghan Intrigues.—The prestige of Mahmud was
seriously weakened by this unsuccessful campaign and